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Posts Tagged ‘Marielle Heller’

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Monday, December 9th, 2019

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD has been promoted as a Fred Rogers biopic, and it it is true that Tom Hanks (THE LADYKILLERS) tackles the challenge of portraying the famously gentle Neighborhood of Make-Believe resident. But it’s not his life story, or even the smarter kind of biopic that focuses on one period as a microcosm of his life. Instead it makes him a supporting character in the story of a journalist coming to terms with his estranged father while working on a magazine profile of Rogers. I guess it’s kind of like SAVING MR. BANKS, where Hanks played Walt Disney as co-lead with a highly fictionalized P.L. Travers, but it’s probly more comparable to if MILES AHEAD was mostly about Ewan McGregor’s character dealing with family issues and Miles Davis occasionally gives him good advice that he rejects until the end of the movie.

So it doesn’t matter much that this is coming on the heels of a popular documentary (WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?) that it could never equal – it’s not the same thing at all. They do manage to work in a few re-enactments of famous moments (a couple seconds of his congressional testimony) and remixes of scenes from the documentary (a crowded cafe – and therefore the theater you’re sitting in – goes silent when he asks our protagonist to stop and think about “the people who loved you into being”). But if I remember right the documentary had a part where writer Tom Junod said that writing a profile on Rogers for Esquire changed his attitude toward life, and this is mostly extrapolated from that idea, with Rogers as guest star guru to writer Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys, TITUS). (read the rest of this shit…)

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Monday, February 18th, 2019

In CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, Melissa McCarthy (CHARLIE’S ANGELS) plays Lee Israel, a writer (this is based on her memoir) who’s maybe hit a rough patch. She’s had a book on the New York Times bestseller list, which she figures has gotta be worth something, but now her agent (Jane Curtin, CONEHEADS) tries to avoid her and has no interest in her planned Fannie Brice biography.

Lee gets fired from her day-going-into-late-night publishing industry job for being an asshole and for drinking, two of her defining characteristics. But her only friend – her cat – is sick, the vet won’t help until she pays her previous bills, and the used bookstore doesn’t want what she’s offering any more than the magazine editors want what she’s pitching.

So it starts in desperation. She figures out she can get money by selling a nice letter that Katharine Hepburn sent to Lee to thank her for a profile she wrote. Next she swipes a Fannie Brice letter from a research archive and tries to sell that, but the content is bland, so nobody offers her much. In a fit of frustration or smart-assed boldness she pops the letter in her typewriter and adds a witty postscript. And sure enough when she tries to sell it that raises its value. (read the rest of this shit…)